He guided Turkic communities with his words "unity in language, work and opinion". He is one of the pioneers of the unity of Turkic world and left a mark with his works in print media and education. He enrolled in a military school in Voronezh to realize his dream of becoming a soldier. Then, he went to another military school in Moscow. His life as a military student ended due to his efforts to join the Ottoman army which was fighting against the Greek rebels in Crete rebellion.
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Alan W. Edward A. Allworth, pp. Copyright , Duke University Press. All rights reserved. Posted with permission. Fisher The Crimean Tatars have been blessed with a number of outstanding leaders over the past hundred years who are in large part responsible for the remarkable ability that the Tatars have shown to survive, even thrive, as a vital nationality within the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Most recently Mustafa Cemilev has provided direction and leadership to the small Crimean Tatar nationality in the Soviet Union, especially those residing in the Tashkent region.
The tasks for Cemilev are extremely difficult ones, as the Crimean Tatars over the past two decades have faced challenges to their identity much more severe than their ancestors experienced under czarist rule: official refusal to consider them as a legitimate nationality, refusal to permit their return to their territorial homeland, and refusal to give them the even limited encouragement granted to other more acceptable ethnic and national groups.
The challenges facing the Crimean Tatars in his day were quite different from those that confront Cemilev. Then it was a matter of survival, in the cultural sense, in the face of clear Russian political, economic, and educational superiority.
Indeed, he found nothing wrong with the idea of close cooperation with the Russian political and cultural authorities, for he could not conceive of a set of circumstances in which the Crimean Tatars would be without a homeland. But without his efforts and accomplishments, it seems unlikely that the Crimean Tatars would have survived long enough to produce the political and national movement that inspires them today.
When Ismail Bey Gaspirali Gasprinskii 1 died on 11 September in Bahcesaray after a long illness, most of the important Turkic newspapers and journals in the Russian Empire and Ottoman Empire published obituaries that reflected an outpouring of emotion and grief about what they generally agreed was a major loss to Turkic society. Ismail Bey was everything, everyone, our all, the entire nation. Ismail Bey was the genius and the conscience of our modern language, our heart, our literature, our writers, our readers, our press, our maktabsand medreses, our pupils and students, the entire being of all of us.
But all of these attributes do not add up to or even describe Ismail Bey. In the Turkic and Islamic world of the past half century, it is possible to number twenty or thirty persons whom I knew who possessed qualities worthy of eulogy.
But our national education remains yet to be born. It is our national treasury. Do we have a national public library? Do we have a national public museum? Do we have a national public academy? This is our great national treasury. It produced great hope, laid foundations for the accomplishment of that hope, of a national renewal for the Turks, especially for the Russian Turks.
It is surprising that works by the leading Soviet Turkologists do not for the most part even mention Gaspirali. Because the Crimean Tatars were officially rehabilitated by the Soviet government no earlier than , presumably his book about Tatar literature in the nineteenth century, published in , would have rectified the earlier omission. But in all of his works there is total silence on the subject. Tutaev, V.
Gorokhov, or R. Nafigov, which deal specifically with the Jadidism initiated by Gaspirali. Many of the most important works on modern Turkish history, literature, and journalism produced in Turkey and the West ignore Gaspirali and his contributions.
In works by Western scholars interested in Soviet nationality affairs and history, more has appeared about Ismail Bey. Most have placed the importance of his work within the broader topic of Pan-Turkism. Rather, they all focus on language, literature, and especially on renewal through education.
Finally, two very important studies by Western scholars focusing almost exclusively on Ismail Bey Gaspirali must be mentioned and credited with drawing our attention back to the really important elements of his work life. First, Ismail Bey believed that the rapidly changing political and cultural relationships between Muslims and Western states and peoples made necessary an immediate and rapid Islamic renewal. We must investigate into the causes of this deplorable state, for admitting, for example, that the Algerian Jews surpass the Algerian Arab, it is astonishing and quite inexplicable that the poor and devout Buddhist should get ahead of the once energetic Muslim.
Again, Gaspirali wrote that "it is an indisputable fact that contemporary Muslims are the most backward peoples. They have been left behind in virtually every area of life by Armenians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Jews, and Hindus We have remained behind them and now regard them with amazement. What were the causes of this misfortune? What remedy was available to stop the decline and recover the losses?
He noted more than once that he did not accept the widespread belief in the West of his time that Christianity and Judaism had innate strengths that no other religion or religious tradition could match. Islam once had itself dominated both Jews and Christians in politics, economics, and even culture. Rather, Gaspirali placed much of the blame on Islamic religious leaders who had "stifled progressive ideas, placed thought in a vice, and closed the doors to scientific research.
He had lived for a few months in Paris early in his career and apparently could read French. But his views, for the most part, about Western-Islamic relations were the result of his experiences in Russia, from his study of Russian culture and institutions, and his good knowledge of the Russian language.
Celebrating this day together with all the other peoples of the Russian Empire, the Crimean Muslims cannot fail to recall all of those good deeds by which they have already profited for years. This could be done, indeed, had to be done in concert with the Russian government.
He believed that Russia "would be one of the greatest Muslim states in the world," that Russia was the heir to the former Tatar possessions, and that sooner or later Russians and Tatars would enjoy the same rights. He was convinced that the Russian government would itself in the end come to its senses and abandon its policies that had been often admittedly hostile to Muslims and other minorities. We are a steady nation, give us the possibility to learn.
You, great brothers, give us knowledge The Russians and Muslims shall came to an understanding in this way. This essay was written long enough after to emphasize the point that he was writing at least in part from belief and not merely as an effort to please the censor. If Russia could have good relations with Turkey and Persia, she would become kindred to the entire Muslim East, and would certainly stand at the head of Muslim nations and their civilizations, which England is attempting so persistently to do.
Donish looked to Russia, though, not so much as a model to be imitated as a useful source of knowledge and of tools to rebuild and renew Bukharan society, to save it from total extinction at the hands of the West Russia.
Donish apparently believed that there was room for cooperation between Bukharan Muslims and Russians, even when the relationship was so unequal in power. In this regard Ismail Bey was no different or unique, even within the Russian context. Of course he lived in a state where he could write about such matters with more freedom than could Gaspirali.
We Muslims cannot imitate fixed models of civilization. We need clothes made to measure principles of life which fit our figure. We have to create a new civilization from our own spirit.
The discovery that institutions were capable both of novelty, which was not mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible, and of development by which one kind of institution would grow out of another were ideas that were not centuries old in the West. Indeed, one of the most important Western theoreticians of the idea of progress of this sort was Lewis Henry Morgan, who died only in The Islamic world, in Russia and outside, was in desperate condition in the minds of many reformers.
Without some major change it might collapse entirely. Gaspirali saw no real danger in cooperation and growing closeness between Muslims and Russians or other Westerners.
He apparently did not believe that Islam itself would have a difficult time surviving such proximity. And his prescriptions were quite different from those offered today by many within the Islamic world, who raise the same questions about danger and survival but who call for rejection of cultural relations with the West and call for a return to pure and early Islam.
First of all Ismail Bey focused on language, particularly in its written form. If it is bad for a man, it is the same for a nation. Such contact, communication, and resulting cooperation would greatly benefit the renewal of their society. What is important to note here is that Gaspirali was interested in such common literary language in order to facilitate renewal, not for any political purposes. He did often write of a Turkic nation kavim , but where is the evidence that he dreamed of using this as a base for facilitating or creating a unified greater Turkic independent state or political entity?
He had emphasized as Ismail Bey would later the simplification of the written language to facilitate wider readership. This is ironic when one takes into account the fact that Gaspirali modeled his journalistic language on Ottoman.
Each people and nation must therefore first of all bring order into its language. But the movements toward national development among many of the Turkic people and other non-Russians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries proved to be divisive forces too strong to permit the adopting of a "neutral" common language among the Russian Turks.
Ultimately Russian itself would he used at the upper school levels. These views bear some resemblance to current policies in the United States on bilingual education. These Russo-Tatar schools would compete with purely Muslim schools; Gaspirali himself both attended and taught in such a school. In the legal sphere, he wrote little about women, though emphasizing the equality of women with men in matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
Knowing how sensitive an issue this was among most Muslims in Russia and outside, Gaspirali made greater efforts to stress his Islamic orthodoxy. What masqueraded as Islamic law and custom relating to women was nothing more than "some Asiatic concept.
He pointed out to his readership that, since more than half of the Muslim and Turkic population was female, for the Muslims to deny women the right and possibility to contribute to national development was to deny themselves half of their human resources. Ismail Bey firmly believed and often stated that without female participation it would be difficult if not impossible for Islamic society to raise its level of existence to that of the West.
All this had to begin with education, as with virtually everything else Gaspirali called for. But it seems clear that women play a more important, at least public and visible, role in Turkic-Tatar life than in most other areas of the Islamic world. It soon came to mean the style of instruction in all subjects used in the maktabs,with an expanded curriculum as well as a new method of teaching. He was convinced that no genuine renewal of Turkic-Tatar Islamic society was conceivable without educational renewal.
His society needed "an army of learned men" and an "enlightened public. The school itself must be designed as a school, and the teachers must be prepared specifically in the subjects that they would teach. Admission to the higher level would require solid grounding in the maktab "basics. They had made great strides in identifying educational problems and had introduced a number of innovations that would be important later on as influences on Gaspirali, who spent some time in Istanbul.
The idea of maarif, the process of becoming acquainted with things not known, was a direct challenge to the ilm of the ulema. The introduction of fan, establishment of commissions of ministries of education, all reflected deep concern, and innovative responses.
In the decree of Mahmud II, which supposedly made primary education compulsory, it was said: While, according to Muslims, learning the requisites of religion comes first and above everything else and while these requisites take precedence over all worldly considerations, the majority of people lately avoid sending their children to school.
Gaspirali Ismail: Pioneer for Turkic world
Biography[ edit ] Gasprinski monument in Bakhchisaray. In his publications he called for unity and solidarity among the Turkic peoples and advocated their modernization through Europeanization. Ismail believed that the only way for modernization was through education. He widely advocated for the introduction of an education reform,  and criticized the traditional education system in Muslim schools focusing much on religion and devised a new method of teaching children how to read effectively in their mother tongue and introduced curricular reforms. He supported the creation of a common literary language  and therefore developed a "pan-Turkic" language, a simplified form of Turkish omitting words imported from Arabic and Persian , which was intended to be understood by "the boatman of the Bosphorus and by the camel driver of Kashgar.
Turkic world honors 169th anniversary of Crimean Tatar enlightener Ismail Gaspıralı
Alan W. Edward A. Allworth, pp. Copyright , Duke University Press. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.
He was the pioneer of the idea that Turkish communities can be united under "unity in language, work and opinion. He still continues to inspire with his long-lasting ideas. He was educated in a local Muslim school, then a gymnasium for boys. Then he enrolled in military academies in Voronej, then in Moscow, to become a soldier. He wanted to go to Turkey in secret, to join the Ottoman army who was fighting Greek rebels in Crete. He failed and was captured, which ended his academic life. Only 17, he returned to Bakhchisarai and started teaching Russian.